How often do we hear that phrase in a day or utter it to those around us? It’s seldom just a minute that we wait; it’s more like several minutes or even hours. Worse yet, sometimes, we never get what we’re waiting for. Whether a child waiting for a special toy or an adult waiting for a healing or job position to open up, waiting is one of life’s most difficult challenges. I can’t think of one person—Christian or non-Christian—who enjoys waiting. And yet, so much of life is spent waiting.
When we are serving the Lord, it seems reasonable to think that our devotion and obedience to Him should count for something when we request things of Him in prayer. Neither is a magic key to unlock the blessings of God, and we’re wise to realize that the Lord is not a manipulator Himself, nor does He acknowledge manipulatory prayers.
Instead, He operates on His own timetable, not ours. God’s timetable is remarkable. I don’t think we’re capable of understanding it fully while here on this earth, for it is the timetable of heaven, where all of God’s attributes—omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, wisdom, creativity, etc. dictate when and what happens.
Imagine if God had created Adam and Eve within the time zone of heaven before all the animals, birds, and fish were created. What if, when He discussed with them some of the strange creatures He intended to create or a continent He was considering, they dissuaded Him from His plan? Keep in mind that before the serpent and the apple, Adam and Eve were without sin. They were His most spectacular creations. They might have significantly altered His creation if He had listened to them.
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act (Psalm 37:7 NLT). The Bible often instructs us to wait for the Lord’s timing, no matter the situation. We often think our timing is best; in fact, we elevate ourselves to such a place of knowing when and how things should happen that God’s timetable slips out of sight. We take the bull by the horns and make things happen our way, in our timing. Sadly, the result is often quite different than God’s answer.
Wait patiently for Him to act. Waiting patiently involves patience, a word we don’t like to hear. It requires trust in the Lord to bring things to pass on His terms, not ours. It requires humility and submission—laying down our right to make things happen when and how we want them to.
Something beautiful occurs in our spirit when we surrender our timetable to the Lord. The psalmist in Psalm 130:5-6 describes that spiritual posture, I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word, I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. Note the emphasis and repetition of the last two phrases: my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
Anyone who has worked the night shift understands the longing one has for daylight to appear and the shift to be over. A night watchman at sea is greatly relieved at daybreak. He waits with much anticipation for that hour to come. When we place a prayer request before the Lord, we can be like watchmen in the night, waiting for the Lord to act as surely as the daybreak occurs. If we truly are waiting and hoping for God to move, we must not interfere with or rush His action.
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV).
© 2022, Chris Werre